The Philadelphia Flyers have been eliminated from making the playoffs this season, but they can still play a key role in deciding the postseason lives of a handful of other teams in the Eastern Conference.
“Our fate is sealed but that doesn’t mean we can’t ruin other people’s,” said goalie Steve Mason, who made 46 saves as the Flyers beat the reeling Penguins for the second time in five days on Easter. “That was kind of what we were trying to do (Sunday).”
The loss left the Penguins, who are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, locked in a tie for the final two wild card spots with the Bruins at 95 points apiece. The Senators trail both teams by just two points and all three teams have three games remaining heading into Monday’s action.
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“It’s good to beat them twice in the same week,” Ryan White said. “That’s the only thing we can play for right now is try to put a damper on other teams’ (chances).”
The Penguins aren’t the only team chasing a playoff spot that could feel the wrath of the Flyers this week.
Philly also hosts the Islanders on Tuesday and wraps up the regular season with the Senators on Saturday – with a game against the non-playoff bound Hurricanes on Thursday.
Although the Islanders are on the brink of sealing a playoff berth, their seed is hardly determined. They are in second place in the Metropolitan Division but could fall to the second wild card spot with a poor finish. The Flyers will no doubt play a role on where the Islanders land.
Then, the season finale against the Senators might be one of the biggest games of the year for a handful of teams. It could determine the playoff fortunes – and seeds - of Ottawa, the Penguins, Bruins or Red Wings depending on how tight the race ends up.
While it has given many of the players extra motivation to get up for the final days of a dreadful season, winger Jakub Voracek, who trails Sidney Crosby by two points in the scoring race, is not a fan of playing spoiler.
“For me personally, I’m more disappointed that we aren’t making it then ruining it for others,” he said. “We just have to go game by game and play our game and hope we can win some for the fans and ourselves.”